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Harley Shares Rise on Sturdy Revenue as EU Tariff Spat Looms 

(Bloomberg) — Harley-Davidson Inc. reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue and raised a key gross sales outlook for the yr, offsetting the disclosure that it’s going through a probably damaging tariff battle with the European Union.

Shares of the Milwaukee-based motorbike maker soared 11% to $44.88 at 11:06 a.m in New York. Harley generated adjusted earnings of $1.68 a share within the first three months, virtually twice as a lot as analysts had anticipated, it stated Monday in a press release.

Chief Govt Officer Jochen Zeitz, who took the helm of the troubled producer final February, has slashed prices and trimmed the product portfolio, and he’s investing extra in Harley’s core heavyweight-bike section. These price cuts, mixed with a revival of demand in its core U.S. market, powered earnings within the first quarter, the corporate stated.

“We will see the preliminary indicators of shopper pleasure and optimism returning,” Zeitz stated in a press release. “The actions we’ve got taken to reshape the enterprise are having a optimistic impression on our outcomes, particularly for our most necessary North American area.”

Retail gross sales jumped 30% in North America within the first quarter and 9% globally, the corporate stated. European deliveries fell 59%, mired by pandemic lockdowns, delivery delays and the discontinuation of gross sales of two fashions there — the Avenue and the Sportster.

Harley expects income in its bikes section to develop 30% to 35% this yr, up from a earlier forecast of 20% to 25%, primarily as a result of a robust restoration in North America.

The numbers are excellent news for Zeitz, who additionally plans to take a position extra in electrification. He has championed Harley’s first electrical motorbike, the LiveWire, and plans to arrange a standalone electric-motorcycle division. Earlier this month, Harley nominated Ford Motor Co. Chief Govt Officer Jim Farley to affix its board.

The outcomes present Zeitz’s technique of paring again stock to push up costs helps margins, and the introduction of the brand new sport journey Panamerica bike in the beginning the spring using season may have given gross sales a lift, William Blair analyst Ryan Sundby wrote in a observe to purchasers Monday. As one among his first strikes as CEO, Zeitz shifted the annual launch of recent product from fall to spring.

Tariff Escalation

The corporate’s progress within the U.S. was met with a brand new headwind throughout the pond in Europe. Harley was notified late Friday that the European Union was revoking the “binding origin info” credentials on all its merchandise — the workarounds that allowed the U.S. firm to sidestep tariffs imposed on its bikes in 2018 by exporting them to the EU from a manufacturing facility in Thailand.

Below these agreements, Harley bikes confronted a 6% tariff in Europe. Now, all of Harley’s merchandise will carry a 56% import tariff, no matter origin, beginning in June. Harley is interesting the choice.

“The potential impression of this choice on our manufacturing, operations and general capability to compete in Europe is important,” Zeitz stated in a separate assertion Monday.

Harley, an iconic American model with operations in politically necessary battleground states like Pennsylvania and Wisconsin, has been ensnared in U.S. and European commerce negotiations since 2018, when President Donald Trump’s administration imposed 25% and 10% tariffs on international metal and aluminum exports, respectively.

The EU rejected the Trump administration’s declare that exports of metal and aluminum from America’s NATO companions posed a national-security risk to the U.S., and responded with retaliatory tariffs of 25% on Harley bikes and a spread of different iconic U.S. items, together with Levi Strauss & Co. denims and bourbon whiskey.

Individually, the European Fee and the Biden administration are negotiating a settlement to a long-running dispute over subsidies to Airbus SE and Boeing Co.

The U.S. and EU in March agreed to briefly droop tariffs they’d imposed on $11.5 billion of one another’s items for a interval of 4 months whereas they endeavored to achieve a settlement to the 17-year-old commerce dispute.

Harley will maintain its investor earnings name Tuesday, as was initially scheduled.

(Updates with CEO remark in fourth paragraph, particulars on EU tariff in seventh.)

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